Blog | The Brainzooming Group - Part 4 – page 4

As a Brainzooming reader, it’s a foregone conclusion that you are an Idea Magnet! That’s why we wanted to give you this exclusive update.

Idea Magnets Is Available Now!

Idea Magnets: 7 Strategies for Cultivating & Attracting Creative Business Leaders, my new Brainzooming book on daily innovation, is now available on

Idea Magnets shares seven strategies for becoming a more dynamic leader who inspires extreme creativity and innovative success by naturally incorporating these strategies into work and personal life.

Using Idea Magnets strategies, you’ll be able to envision new creative paths that deliver powerful impact, attract new ideas and people, and strengthen your leadership. This leads to greater fulfillment for you and everyone around you!

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The Idea Magnets Launch

We’ll be officially celebrating the book’s launch on Monday, July 23 with a live presentation at 11:00 am Central Daylight Time (US). We’re planning to stream it live on the book’s Facebook page.

An Exclusive Free Offer for Brainzooming Readers!

If you purchase your Idea Magnets print or Kindle version right now on Amazon, you can also get a copy of The Idea Magnets Creative Recharge for free. This companion eBook shares strategies that build on the seven strategies in Idea Magnets. It offers fun approaches for recharging your creative energy. To grab your copy, go to and enter your contact information and the Amazon order number from your Idea Magnets print or e-book purchase.

For more details on Idea Magnets, visit and start following us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

We’re excited that you are part of Brainzooming family and look forward to benefiting you in new ways with the helpful strategies in Idea Magnets!  – Mike Brown



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Do your organization’s strategic planning meetings turn into annual snoozefests?

That happens when strategic planning becomes too complex, gets detached from real business issues, or the whole process focuses on trying to complete cumbersome strategy templates. Then people start dozing off. Later you discover that your strategic planning was more successful at producing ZZZZZZZZZZs than $$$$$$$$$s.

Yes, strategic planning processes are commonly snoozefests, but they needn’t be!

To avoid it, it’s vital to break out of the typical strategic planning process formula where it’s all about the same old people, the same old strategy exercises, and the same old expectations to just get a plan done so it can sit on the shelf with other strategies while the organization keeps doing the same old things.

If you’ve been frustrated in your efforts to challenge the strategic planning status quo, we have good news: There’s hope, and you can change all the bad things about how a boring strategic planning process! There are actually many fun strategic planning ideas that you can start implementing for next year’s planning!

Step one in the process is to download 11 Ideas for Fun Strategic Planning! This eBook has become a go-to guide for thousands of executives globally to explore fun strategic planning ideas. You can use this eBook to enliven strategy meetings through a focus on important business issues, productive strategy exercises, and enough fun to keep EVERYONE engaged in creating a plan that creates success and all those other things that more $$$$$$$$$$s create.

If you don’t have 11 Ideas for Fun Strategic Planning, get your copy today!

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I’m heading a team at church with responsibility for evangelization and conversion. Our responsibilities include ensuring our church creates an inviting and welcoming experience for both parishioners and visitors.

Our team gathered before the last Sunday mass this weekend to conduct a visual and experience audit. We used a worksheet supplied by our local archdiocese to perform what they called a visual hospitality audit. We informally extended the audit to include the entire experience, not just the visual cues.

The worksheet was tremendously helpful. It kept our team aligned AND provided a way to see our parish experience with fresh eyes.

Even before we successfully used the worksheet to conduct the audit, we planned to adapt the idea to develop a new Brainzooming branding exercise. It will help brands effectively and efficiently look at their in-person customer experiences.

If you want to adapt the concept to your brand’s in-person customer experience, here are the steps we’re taking to modify it:

To set up our team’s exercise, I prepared a cover sheet advising people to be as much in the background as possible (to minimize the impact of our presence on the observations). It also suggested trying, as best possible, to take on the eyes of specific audiences that need accommodation beyond the typical experience.

Our next step is compiling all the results. It is clear already that the audit form led all of us to new insights. One team member noticed a massive mosaic on the front of the church for the first time, even though he’s been in and around the church for fifty years! That shows the value of this type of customer experience audit approach to allow you to find fresh eyes, even if you have decade of exposure to a customer experience situation. – Mike Brown

Download our FREE eBook:
The 600 Most Powerful Strategic Planning Questions

Engage employees and customers with powerful questions to uncover great breakthrough ideas and innovative strategies that deliver results! This Brainzooming strategy eBook features links to 600 proven questions for:

  • Developing Strategy

  • Branding and Marketing

  • Innovation

  • Extreme Creativity

  • Successful Implementation

Download Your FREE eBook! The 600 Most Powerful Strategic Planning Questions

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The idea of personal branding seems like it’s been around forever. Many people credit author Tom Peters for popularizing the concept of personal branding strategies in a late ‘90s Fast Company article. If you are unfamiliar with the term, personal branding simply means building awareness and a reputation for your business self through strategies used to develop and market product or service brands.

I talk to many senior business people who think the idea of developing personal branding strategies is nonsense. That opinion tends to soften, though, once they are trying to change careers or reinvent themselves. Then, they suddenly get the personal branding religion and reach out for ideas and advice on how to successfully (and uber-quickly) develop their personal brands.

6 Personal Branding Strategies for Senior Executives

Someone in my LinkedIn network reached out recently with news that he has left the corporate world and looking for ideas on personal brand strategies to increase his online presence. To start answering his question, and get you thinking about the concept now, before you need it, here are six personal branding strategies we suggest for senior executives in career transitions. These are fundamental and important steps to build a personal brand online (and offline) as quickly as possible:

#1 Get Started by Repackaging Content

If you have ever created any content about your chosen profession that’s still relatively current, track it down. Your potential content stash could include non-proprietary presentations, articles, reports, and industry overviews. Edit these into a 300-to-500-word format. Review the pieces for tone, grammar, punctuation, and spelling (one more time never hurts), and then publish your article on LinkedIn. Two weeks later, publish another one, and keep on doing it.

#2 Share Content Online Regularly and Frequently

As you publish articles in your professional area, share links to all of them on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Yes, if you don’t already have presences on these social networks, you’ll need to create them and start growing your network on each one.

Besides links to the articles you publish, you should also share ideas and engaging tidbits about things going on in your professional life. Potential topics include your business experiences, travel updates, info on intriguing people that you meet, new information you learn, and insights you recently gained. All these social media posts help in creating the perception that you are active and in-demand. You will be amazed at how even a handful of regular posts prompt people you meet in real life to remark about how they see you doing things. That’s all positive for building your personal brand.

#3 Adapt What You Share Online

As you create and share content online, continue to refine your strategy. You can do this based on how people engage with your content and the reactions they share. Rethink what you want people to know about you. What do you want them to tell someone that they are referring you to in a professional setting? As you home in on this vision, share more of the content that corresponds with it. While we would ordinarily make that a first step before creating and sharing content, at this stage it is more important to get started than to waste weeks or months figuring out exactly what you should share.

#4 Reach Out to People Regularly without Asking for Anything

Begin emailing people with ideas, tips, insights, and other content that will be helpful to them. Don’t email someone you haven’t talked to forever with a request to help you. Email them multiple times with beneficial ideas before you ever ask for anything, especially networking help. If your first outreach is to interrupt a valuable contact to help you, you know you aren’t starting out well.

#5 Upgrade Your Personal Presence

If you don’t have one already, hire a professional photographer to take great photos of you. Make sure the pictures are natural and highlight what you look like at your best. Now replace all the bad, amateurish photos of you on your social presences with these new, great photos.

Also, make an investment in Moo business cards. I’m continually surprised by how many people (even ones I’d consider business hip), don’t know about Moo cards. They are pricier, but they’re of a heavier card stock; they come in striking shapes, and they can showcase multiple bold messages. Since I began using Moo cards, people repeatedly remark about them to me. They will set you apart, too, when you hand out your business card to someone.

#6 Get Out There and Meet People

Aggressively attend networking events. The key, again, is to not wait until you must network to find a new opportunity. Network when you can view it as a pure numbers game, one in which you aren’t under pressure to turn every meeting or event into a major win. When you aren’t desperately needing to network, outreaches that fall through won’t hurt nearly as badly — psychologically or career-wise. If you take the big networking meeting route, bring along a friend as your wing person. Two people networking together doubles the chances that you’ll know people there. You can also encourage one another when your reserves run low.

Start Now!

The challenge is to start and keep going on all these personal branding strategies. Don’t stop doing them once you land the next opportunity you’re seeking. That’s the time to increase your outreach, not retreat from it. – Edited from Inside the Executive Suite

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Typical writer conundrum: Better to sleep on the flight and write when I get home, or try to write on the plane and sleep when I get home? Never an easy answer . . . The writing is easy on this flight because it’s completely the wrong topic . . . It’s easy to sluff off creating great brand messages. But the thing is, it’s not THAT much harder to create incredible brand messages. Do everyone a favor, and put in that little extra effort . . . Yeah, I over-share what’s going on in my life. I’m working on curbing that, though . . . When you’re a bottom feeder, you always want someone just a little more bottom than you. Thank you, Orioles, who are, in the words of our client, the “best of the worst.”

Hoping this book makes it to 22 states

I would definitely do “twenty-two states and half a mile” . . . Roll with the changes, as best you can . . . Sleep would be highly prized right now . . . You see, I’m on a losing streak . . . Being in the middle of a shit show of a job ain’t no fun for nobody . . . I forgot what the one cat’s name is. Been gone a long time, I am clearly a bad cat dad. BAD cat dad.

It’s Salvy. His name is Salvy.

Guy in front of me waiting to get on a Southwest flight: “Are you 33?” Me: “Yeah, at least for the next few minutes” . . . I hate closed windows on planes. Wait. Let me clarify: I hate closed window shades on planes. I’m just fine with the windows all sealed up tight . . . I legitimately wish there were a training school for sitting in the exit row where you could practice everything you are supposed to do under realistic, albeit simulated, conditions. I think we would all sleep better at night . . . Sat in the exit row over the weekend with two California soccer mom chaperones. Had to clue them in on everything in the Wizard of Oz that ISN’T accurate about Kansas. So, that occupied the entire trip from LA . . .We NEVER anticipate a drop in oxygen. To clarify: They don’t, but I wanna be ready. Do you know how hard you can pull on those masks? I expect to be pulling pretty hard.

Why would ANYONE schedule a bunch of meetings and calls the day you return from 10 days away from home? Duh . . . Sometimes, it’s the heat AND the humidity . . . Growing up, my uncle used to talk about One-Eyed Mildred, who ran a bar in his hometown. When we went to visit, he took us there, and she legitimately had only one eye. He said it was because she was so mean, a rooster pecked it out. That last part may be a rural myth . . . Professional photo bombers are SOOOOOO annoying. Why you gotta always get in my photos?

From a Walmart in LA. This is obviously where the aliens are expected to land.

A client told her team that they found Brainzooming because they Googled, Strategic planning” and “fun.” We’ll take those searches EVERY day of the week . . . Some people REALLY don’t like the people of Walmart. I, however, am one of those people. You take me, you take my retail choices . . . Last few weeks, I was, perpetually, half the way home . . . Oh, that’s who that is! I should have figured that out sooner . . . Many happy hours aren’t, so much. That’s just a cruel joke, I think. Others, are oh, so happy . . . Does anybody know what any of this means?

Laurel & Hardy, right?

Knowing where something is eventually going to go is half the battle . . . The other half of the battle is figuring out what order these one-liners should go in . . . If I had more money than I knew what to do with, I’d have a new t-shirt every day . . . I can’t wait to stop flying blind. It’s killing me . . . Stop me when you’ve had enough. Wait! Quit scrolling back up the page . . . Crab cakes and fried pickles. Who knew? – Mike Brown

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Looking for ways to keep strategic planning advancing before the rest of the company starts to actively think about next year?

If you’re involved in strategic planning, one valuable activity you can be doing right now is scouting out new venues in your community for offsite strategic planning meetings. Hit the web and phone, and then hit several new locations where you can potentially take the team for strategic planning this year. You may be amazed at the impact that fresh surroundings can have on enabling stronger strategic thinking.

5 Things Any Offsite Strategic Planning Venue Must Offer

During your site visits, look for these things to help decide which offsite strategic planning venue makes the most sense to use this year:

#1 Event Planner

Make sure that the event planner at the venue understands what you’re trying to accomplish during your offsite meeting. Invite the event planner into your meeting planning. Ask to see and/or hear about things they’ve done for other companies that might work for your team’s success. If they’re unwilling to engage in this type of exploration, that’s a strong sign you’re not in the right offsite venue for you.

#2 An Environment for Teams to Work

Look for lots of wall and floor space where you can create opportunities for small groups to collaborate, with enough space between them so that noise won’t be an issue. Make sure you can secure much more floor space than they might typically offer for meetings. You want people to be able to move around and not trip over one another.

#3 Flexible Furniture

Look for flexible furniture arrangements. Big conference room tables push people into sitting in familiar places and playing the same roles they usually do in your conference rooms back at the office. Look for modular furniture and a willingness from the venue to move things around so that they’re how you need them.

#4 Options for Multiple Settings

Within one facility, are there options for varied meeting rooms, environments, and team activities? While a facility with only one meeting room can work, it’s fantastic to have multiple settings within a venue to vary things during the one or more days you are there.

#5 Seamless Food Service

Find out about food service. You may think it’s important to be able to bring in your own food and beverages to better manage costs. For us, having to mess with these things the day of a strategic planning workshop is a major distraction from the most important work: breakthrough thinking. If the facility or a partner vendor can remove this distraction, it’s a smart investment.

That’s our typical list of important things we look for in an offsite strategic planning venue. When you can find all these things in one location, you have a winner. – Mike Brown

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The most popular statistic right now when it comes to knowledge transfer inside organizations?

Ten thousand baby boomers are reaching retirement age daily.

This statistic is used to light a fire under executives to hop on the knowledge management program. Many articles I’ve reviewed for an upcoming keynote presentation that I’ve informally called, Baby Boomers: Losing their Minds, paint the situation as totally dire.

While there’s a clear risk to losing intellectual capital, I see several potential upsides with the changing of the generational guard. We still see too many Brainzooming strategy workshops without enough women in senior roles, let alone healthy racial diversity. Given that, the baby boomer turnover has the potential to deliver multiple benefits, including:

That’s why the relevant number for your organization isn’t 10,000 baby boomers reaching retirement age daily. It is how much of your organization’s intellectual capital is subject to departure risk?

When identifying information to transfer in a strategic, coordinated fashion, I’m recommending to attendees that they prioritize several types of knowledge:

  • Information inside the heads and in the files of employees (irrespective of level in the company) who have influenced the organization’s body of intellectual capital, knowledge, and expertise
  • The details, keys to important communications flows, and histories within customer relationships integral to maintaining and growing revenue
  • Information on processes, procedures, and activities related to critical factors for organizational success
  • Successful structures and processes to transfer, embed, and ensure that the organization can act on vital knowledge

One other factor to narrow the knowledge you try to capture? Focus on capturing information that will be relevant in the future. While you may have a tremendous amount of information inside baby boomers’ heads, why waste time documenting things that won’t be important going forward? – Mike Brown

10 Keys to Engaging Stakeholders to Create Improved Results

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Leaders need high-impact ways to develop employees that can provide input into strategy and then turn it into results. This Brainzooming mini-book, “Results – Creating Strategic Impact” unveils ten proven lessons leaders can use to boost collaboration, meaningful strategic conversations, and results.

Download this free, action-focused mini-book to:

  • Learn smart ways to separate strategic opportunities from the daily noise of business
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  • Actively engage stakeholders in strategy AND implementation success

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